Owned from new by Sir Douglas Bader 1938 MG Midget TA Roadster Registration no. GPC 671 Chassis no. TA 1753 Engine no. MPJG 2010
'The latest Series T MG Midget... gives an unusually good performance for its engine size, handles in a distinctly better manner than the ordinary touring vehicle and possesses those touches in the tout ensemble that endear it to the owner with sporting tendencies.' The Autocar, 18th September 1936.
As such, the Midget was exactly the sort of car that would appeal to fighter pilot Douglas Bader, who purchased 'GPC 671' new in January 1938. One of the RAF's most famous flyers of WW2, Bader had lost both his legs in a flying accident in December 1931 but recovered and flew again in the Battle of Britain, only to be shot down over France in August 1941. Despite his physical handicap, he made several escape attempts and eventually was confined in the notorious Colditz Castle. Released from captivity in 1945, he left the RAF in 1946 with the rank of Group Captain and resumed his peacetime career in the oil industry. He was knighted in 1976 and died in 1982, aged 72.
Launched in 1936 as successor to the PB Midget, the TA Midget was an altogether larger and roomier car. Longer in the wheelbase at 94", the simple chassis followed established Midget practice with semi-elliptic springing all round, though the use of hydraulic dampers at the front and the adoption of Lockheed hydraulic brakes were new departures. Although styled in a manner MG enthusiasts had come to expect, the new two-seater broke with tradition by employing an overhead-valve engine instead of the previous overhead-camshaft type. The TA was introduced after Nuffield's takeover of MG and used the 10hp 1,292cc four-cylinder Wolseley engine, itself derived from that of the Morris Ten, which produced around 50bhp at 4,500rpm. Though MG purists complained about the adoption of a pushrod engine and synchromesh gearbox, the TA was faster than the PB, having a top speed of 80mph (with the folding windscreen lowered) and its total production of 3003 was 19% more than that of the P-Series.
This Midget's accompanying continuation logbook, stamped throughout the early war years, shows that it was registered to Douglas Robert Steuart Bader on 14th January 1938, his address being given as West Kensington Court, London W14. There are three changes of address recorded, the final being RAF Coltishall, Norfolk in 1946. Bader sold the MG soon afterwards.
In the 1960s, 'GPC 671' was involved in a major accident and was in a dismantled state when it was purchased by the previous owner 11 years ago. It is offered for sale having undergone a 'ground upwards' total restoration to original condition by Warren Kennedy (Classic Restorations Ltd). The car retains its original engine and is presented in generally excellent condition, having covered fewer than 100 miles since completion. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned old-style logbook and a metallurgist's report confirming the chassis number stamping's originality.